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Published by: IPCreature on Aug 04, 2008
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05/09/2014

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IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALSFOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT
No. 07-20321ROBIN SINGH, Doing Business as Testmasters,Plaintiff-Appellant,v.DUANE MORRIS LLP; RICHARD T. REDANO,Defendants-Appellees.Appeal from the United States District Courtfor the Southern District of TexasBefore REAVLEY, SMITH, and DENNIS, Circuit Judges.JERRY E. SMITH, Circuit Judge.RobinSinghsuedDuaneMorrisLLPandattorneyRichard Redano (jointly“Redano”)formalpracticeallegedlycommittedduringRedanosrepresentationofSinghinafederaltrademarklawsuit.Because the federal courts lack subjectmatterjurisdictionoverthismalpractice action, we vacate the judgment andrender a judgment of dismissal.
United States Court of AppealsFifth Circuit
F I L E D
July 30, 2008Charles R. Fulbruge IIIClerk
 
No. 07-20321
1
Intwosubsequentsuits,Singhunsuccessfullysoughttoestablishsecondarymeaninginthe“Testmasters”mark.
SeeTest MastersEduc.Servs.,Inc.v.Singh
,428F.3d559(5thCir.2005)(holdingthatSinghwasprecludedfromre-litigatingissueofsecondarymeaning);
RobinSingh Educ.Servs.Inc.v.Excel Test PrepInc.
,No.06-20951,2008U.S.App.LEXIS8178(5thCir. Apr. 16, 2008) (per curiam) (unpublished) (same).
2I.Thiscasearisesoutofadisputebetweentwotest-prepcompaniesoveruseofthename“Testmasters.”Singh, who owned a California-based test-prep com-pany,andTestMastersEducationalServices,Inc.(“TES”),aTexas-basedcom-pany,suedinfederalcourt,assertingvarioustrademarkclaims against eachother. Redano represented Singh. After a five-day trial, a jury found thatSingh’smarkwasdescriptiveandthathehadestablishedsecondarymeaninginthe“Testmastersmark.The jury also found that TES had infringed Singh’smarkbutwasnotliable,becauseithadbeenaninnocentprioruser.Both par-tiesappealed,andwereversed,holdingthatSinghhadpresented“littleornoev-idenceregardingsecondarymeaning.
Test MastersEduc.Servs.,Inc.v.Singh
,No.01-20659,2002U.S.App.LEXIS16896,at*15(5thCir.July24,2002)(percuriam) (unpublished).
1
 Singhfiledthismalpractice suit against Redano in Texas state court,claiming that Redano had mistakenly failed attrialto introduce available evi-dencethatwouldhavesuccessfullyestablishedsecondarymeaning.Redano re-movedtofederalcourt,basingfederaljurisdictiononthecontentionthattheoutcome of the malpractice case depended on resolving questions of federaltrademark law.Thedistrict court, Judge VanessaGilmorepresiding,deniedSingh’smo-tiontoremand,concludingthatithad subject matter jurisdiction under 28U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1338(a) and the All WritsAct,28 U.S.C. § 1651. The courtgrantedinpartRedanosmotionforsummaryjudgmentanddismissedSinghsmalpractice claims. The court held that collateral estoppel bars Singh’s malprac-
 
No. 07-203213ticeclaimsandthatSingh’sclaimsareprecludedbyhisfailuretofileaFederalRuleofCivil Procedure 60(b) motion with additional secondary meaning evi-dence after the trademark trial had been concluded.II.Wereview
denovo
thedistrictcourt’sassumptionofsubjectmatter jur-isdiction.
Local 1351Int’l LongshoremensAss’n v.Sea-Land Serv.,Inc.
,214F.3d566,569(5thCir.2000).Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1338(a), federalcourtshavesubjectmatterjurisdictionovercivilactions“arisingunder”federallawandspecificallyoveractions“arisingunderanyActofCongressrelatingto...trademarks.”We must decide whether a state-law malpractice claim “arisesunderfederallawmerelybecause the alleged malpractice occurred in a priorfederaltrademarksuit.We conclude that such claim does not arise under feder-al law and does not confer subject matter jurisdiction under § 1331 or 1338(a).Singh sued Redano in state court on a state-law causeofaction. Havingremoved the case to federal court, Redanocontendsthatfederaljurisdictionisproperbecauseresolvingthemalpracticeclaimnecessarilyrequiresresolvingafederalquestion
SS
to-wit
,whetherSinghcould have established secondary mean-ing in his trademark.UnderTexaslaw,“[w]henalegalmalpracticeclaimarisesfromearlier liti-gation,theplaintiff...bearstheburdentoprovehewouldhaveprevailedontheunderlyingcauseofaction.
Williamsv.Briscoe
,137S.W.3d120,124(Tex.App.
SS
Houston[1stDist.]2004,nowrit).That rule, which is necessary to satisfy thecausation element of a malpractice claim, has been dubbed the “suit within asuitrequirement:“[T]he plaintiff must establish that the underlying suit wouldhavebeenwonbutfor’theattorney’sbreachofduty....
Ballesterosv. Jones
,985S.W.2d485,489(Tex.App.
SS
SanAntonio1998,pet.denied).Hence, Singhmustprovethere was sufficient evidence of secondary meaning such that he

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